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Old 02-10-2015, 06:40 AM   #1
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1975 31' Sovereign
san Antonio , Texas
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Just purchased my first Airstream 1975 Land Yacht Sovereign

It's a total mess too! The AC and electric work! So here is the big question: where is the best place to start? I need new seals, gaskets, chaulk, top window look like plastic and they are leaking pretty bad. Floor needs replacing... The list goes on and on... Any experienced Airstreamers input would been very useful. I'm still navigating the forums. I've been getting a ton of info but I want to make sure that it's the same for my year and model! Thanks!
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Old 02-10-2015, 07:40 AM   #2
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Hi and welcome!
You can start here-
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f44/...ons-35399.html
If you'd like to read about Abby, our 1972 Ambassador-
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...n-h-73643.html
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f354...ion-71467.html
Good luck!
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Old 02-10-2015, 09:34 AM   #3
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1978 31' Sovereign
Hot Springs , Arkansas
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Welcome! It can be overwhelming if you want it to. Keep it fun, and remember how it will be when you get it like you want it. Every day I step outside, it's like a little kid finding the cool present under the Christmas tree.
Mine was pretty rough when I got it, and the first order of business was to clean it. top to bottom, front to back. Outside top to bottom. Then I did it again.

Each time you go over an area that you don't like, you will get a better sense of what needs to be done. If you have carpet/padding, remove it. You will be able to see water damage a little easier, and more closely find the source of the leak.
If you don't have an owners manual, you can get one at Airstream. It gives an overview of how all the systems work.
You can break down your "to do" list by system, Electrical, Plumbing, etc. and work out what you need, how much it will cost.

Keep this list, it will be a source of encouragement as time goes on.
It's a matter of setting priorities as you care to, and working your way through the list. It's your Awesome Airstream, and it will be even better when you are done.

There are several very good vendors for AS parts. I have used Vintage Trailer Supply for parts to fix my original door lock that everyone said was unfixable. Silver Trailer Supply has all the small pieces like the glides for the fold out bed and others.

Something else that I have found to be helpful is a printed catalog. You can go to your nearest RV/trailer dealer and ask for a hard copy of their catalog. Most of the generic parts can be found here and it supports a local business. Tell them what you are doing and they most likely will be able to cheerfully help you out. You can get an ball park idea of repairs cost that you cant or don't want to do.
Finding and fixing the leaks would be my first priority, followed by floor repairs.
The front and rear flooring is prone to water infiltration where the seal/skin meet at the frame rails.
Always remember to have fun with YOUR Airstream. It's going to be awesome.
Again, Welcome!
Clayton
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Old 02-10-2015, 11:35 AM   #4
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We bought a 1976 31' Sovereign (center bath) as our first Airstream in 2012. It looked good to us. As we looked into more and more we found alot of issues but nothing that wasn't common to Airstreams of this age. Take a good look at the frame. We bought it thinking it had a little rust but soon discovered the frame needed a lot of work. The floor at the very front and back, about 4' each end, needed replacing. The brake booster was shot and some of the brake lines need replacing. I recently discovered that the axles will have to be replaced (haven't told the wife yet). I don't want to scare you but these are common issues. Knowing what I know now I would have immediately pulled the shell off and built a new frame but we all learn as we go along. I am glad we bought the Sovereign and look forward to spending many trips in it. Please feel free to contact me for any questions.
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Old 02-10-2015, 01:26 PM   #5
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For resealing the Vista View windows, if your 75 is the same as my 74, I did a detailed thread with pictures... only update would be that you can now buy the polyshim I mention in the thread at Vintage Trailer Supply as well as the vendor I list in the thread...
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f454...ign-96251.html
Start by cleaning as was previously mentioned, check your floor to see how badly it's damaged, if you have floor damage (and you will) you'll need to check the frame for rust.
Now, you have to decide is this a shell on or a shell off resto. If you go shell on, as I did, your next step is to stop all leaks. Get it dried in before doing any repairs, or it will just all get wet again...
I had to replace 8 feet of floor in the rear of my trailer, almost eight feet in the front, and did some major frame repair. Probably should have done a shell off, but I wanted to go camping...
I have a thread with pictures on all that here...
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f221...ler-95762.html
Good luck with it. Post lots of pictures. Don't be afraid to ask for help. And read as much on here as you can stand.

-Red, handing it out for free...
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Somebody ought to clean these windows. There is a tremendous buildup of gook all over them...
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Old 02-11-2015, 04:25 AM   #6
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1975 31' Sovereign
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Yesterday, we finally go our hands dirty and started "demo" day! Thanks for all your wonderful comments and advice! I read them and re-read them! Wow! You can get lost on here! I'm doing a "shell on" restoration. I thought at first I was going to keep everything or at least something's but as I really got to looking I decided all of it had to go. She just wasn't treated well in her former life and we aren't just going to cover up the damage. I have to questions:
#1 do most people keep the big end "mold" at both ends of the trailer or do they get something to replace it? The one at the front of my AS has a built in cabinet...Click image for larger version

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#2 the "vista windows" I'm guessing are the plastic fixed windows at the top of the regular windows correct? Those windows are leaking like a sieve!! Do you replace the whole unit or can/do window shops replace just the glass?
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Check out the "great stuff" around the kitchen sink!! This guy sprayed it on all the vista windows too!
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That's the shell piece I'm asking about. We've been trying to figure out if we should keep it or find something to take its place and if so, what?

Thanks!
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Old 02-11-2015, 05:55 AM   #7
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Hi Kiera,

Congrats on the new (to you) rig. The interior end caps can be replaced with custom aluminum or wood. There is nothing commercially available that is designed as an "Off-the-shelf" replacement but some of our members have done some beautiful work.

You can check out Zepp's handywork. Start at post 64.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f421...n-37609-5.html

Keep us posted on your progress.

Kevin
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Old 02-11-2015, 06:48 AM   #8
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Keep those interior end caps. Lots easier to repair those than it will be to find a replacement. If you don't like their looks, use them to hold up something that you do like.

The interior aluminum is part of the structure, so keep it or replace with aluminum. At least keep it for a pattern to use when making the new interior.

Best of luck with your project.
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Old 02-11-2015, 07:03 AM   #9
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Airstream made several different style vista view windows. Go to the link that I provided above on how to repair the ones like I have in my 74, and that should be in your 75 also...

-Red, making the effort...


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Old 02-11-2015, 06:52 PM   #10
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1975 31' Sovereign
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Can anyone tell me how they removed the screws from their floor in order to replace the plywood? Our screws do not budge....
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Old 02-11-2015, 08:48 PM   #11
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Keira, If you can't remove the big screws in the center of the floor, cut around them with a circular saw set shallow enough to just clear the frame. Rip up the wood and use a visegrips on the screws. The small screws in the wall C channel just need their heads ground off with a Dremel tool or angle grinder. You will probably also have to cut off the bolts holding the C channel to the outriggers but you might be able to twist them off with a wrench above and below. Jeff
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Old 02-11-2015, 09:12 PM   #12
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^^^^^^ EXACTLY^^^^^^

-Red, nothing new to add here...
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